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Baseball: Beckett blanks Mets in Marlins win

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posted on Sep, 9 2004 @ 12:21 PM
Josh Beckett pitched eight innings and blanked the New York Mets for his second start in a row, and the Florida Marlins matched a franchise record with their ninth consecutive victory, 3-0 on Wednesday night.

The Mets have lost 11 straight, including six since last week to Florida, and haven't had a lead in 58 innings. New York is on its longest losing streak since dropping 12 in a row from Aug. 10-23, 2002.

Paul Lo Duca hit a two-run homer for the Marlins, who beat New York for the 10th straight time, a franchise record for Florida against any opponent.

Beckett (7-8) pitched a six-hit shutout against the Mets last week for the first regular-season complete game of his career. This time he, allowed four hits, struck out nine and walked two.

Armando Benitez pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 41st save. The former Mets closer has 11 saves against New York this season.

The Marlins matched a season high by climbing 10 games over .500 for the first time since May 30. The winning streak is their longest since May 6-14, 1996, the only other time they won nine in a row.

The defending World Series champions began the night two games behind NL wild-card leader Chicago. Florida will go for a sweep Thursday against the Mets, then head to Wrigley Field for a crucial four-game series.

Beckett, pitching on seven days' rest because Hurricane Frances disrupted the Marlins' schedule, escaped two-on, none-out jams in the fifth and sixth innings.

But the right-hander drew the wrath of manager Jack McKeon with a baserunning blunder in the sixth. After hustling to reach second on a throwing error, Beckett advanced only to third on Juan Pierre's two-out single, even though he was waved home by third-base coach Jeff Cox and would've scored easily.

McKeon shouted a profanity, and glared from his dugout seat when the inning ended with Beckett stranded and Florida still leading 3-0.

Jae Seo (4-9) allowed three runs - two earned - in five innings and remained winless since June 29.

The Mets, who gave up two runs because of errors Tuesday, made another costly miscue to fall behind against Beckett.

Alex Gonzalez led off the third with a double and advanced on a sacrifice bunt. With two out, shortstop Wilson Delgado let Lo Duca's sharp grounder go through his legs for an error, allowing Gonzalez to score.

Pierre walked in the fifth and stole second, and Lo Duca homered for a 3-0 lead. Lo Duca had been hitting 5-for-34 (.147) against the Mets this season.

The Mets trailed 1-0 when Mike Piazza doubled leading off the fifth for their first hit, and David Wright walked. But Beckett struck out Mike Cameron, and Jason Phillips grounded into a double play.

Beckett pitched out of another jam in the sixth. Jeff Keppinger singled and pinch-hitter Craig Brazell doubled to start the sixth, but Beckett struck out Eric Valent and Delgado, then retired Cliff Floyd on a broken-bat grounder to end the inning.

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